Utah ski resorts: 13 in one day

Group makes history on Utah's mountains

By Ray Grass

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 12 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

Powder Mountain Ski Resort at Sunset.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Eleven resorts in a day, why not ski 13? Why not? Only in Utah. In January 2005, five skiers skied 11 of Utah's 13 resorts in a single day. The obvious question then was: Why not 13? Now, four years later, nine skiers skied all 13 of Utah's ski resorts in a single day — 16 hours, 554 miles, three quick meals on the go, 15 great runs (to celebrate, the group skied three final runs at Beaver Mountain), stepped into and out of the bindings 26 times, and made who knows how many turns, climbed in and out of a packed van 26 times … and made history.

Where else in the world can a skier, or, in this case, nine, ski 13 different resorts in a single day — 13 different mountains, 13 different base centers, 13 different lift passes, 13 different area personalities, 13 different runs. They started at Brian Head Resort, 254 miles to the south of Salt Lake City, and finished in the evening hours at Beaver Mountain Ski Area, 115 miles to the north. And, in between, they skied the 11 — Sundance Resort first, then Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Alta Ski Area, Brighton Ski Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Snowbasin Resort, Wolf Creek Utah Ski Resort and Powder Mountain Winter Resort. Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, led the group of five staffers from the Deseret News, which included photographer Ravell Call, back in January 2005 for the 11 resorts.

Jessica Kunzer, communications director of Ski Utah, led the latest party, which included Deseret News photographer Ravell Call. Both events were, Call said, "A challenge, but were well worth the effort … nowhere else but here in Utah could this happen."

The nine skiers included Call, Kunzer, Amy Anderson, Bill Weidner, Andy Bauman, Jake Bogoch, Kendall Card, Adam Barker and Brian Schott. Chris Pearson of Ski Utah was the team's van driver.

Rafferty has been extolling the ease at which skiers can reach Utah's resorts for years. Within 35 minutes, visiting skiers can go from the Salt Lake International Airport to the base of any one of seven world-class resorts. The nine skiers drove by van to Brian Head in the afternoon on Jan. 12, spent the night and were up at 4 a.m. to make their first run.

"We drove up the mountain to a place where we could access a run," said Kunzer, "and made one of the most incredible moonlight runs over a corduroy-smooth surface. It was a perfect start. … There was a real magical feeling about this run." The day went like this:

4:37 a.m. — They drove to an area above the Giant Steps run, then skied under moonlight. This run, said Call, is "something I'd liked to do again. It was really incredible."

8:36 a.m. — Arrived at Sundance, and with the morning light bouncing off Mount Timpanogos, the group made a run down the Top Gun run.

9:38 a.m. — Drove by way of Heber to the Deer Valley gondola at Deer Crest, rode to the top and skied Little Stick for a run that was "over too quickly."

10:13 a.m. — It was a short drive to Park City Mountain Resort for a ride up the PayDay lift and down the PayDay run — the resort's signature run.

11:01 a.m. — The next stop was next door at The Canyons for a ride up the gondola, followed by a lift ride and a run to the base.

12:16 p.m. — This was followed by a ride down into the valley and up Little Cottonwood to Snowbird, where there was a change of plans. Originally, the plan called for a tram ride, a run down Mineral Basin and a lift ride to the Alta saddle. High winds, however, had docked the tram. So the group took the Peruvian lift to the Mine Tunnel and skied down Silver Fox.

12:40 p.m. — Rather than ski to Alta, the group rode by van. There they stepped into the skis, rode the Collins lift and skied one of the more famous runs — Sunspot.

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